HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Report recommends long term funding to manage solid waste
The problem with solid waste is that few of us want to deal with it, thinking it is someone else’s problem and we all look to government to provide waste disposal services and waste collection at our gate without any expectation that we may have to help to pay for that service.
The fact is, when it comes to waste, we are all responsible, we create it, we must deal with it and we must pay our fair share. What’s more, if waste is not effectively dealt with, the impact down- stream on our environment and health can be devastating.
On Rarotonga alone, about 80 tonnes of waste is collected each week from households and other sources and taken to the landfill. That’s about 4,100 tonnes of waste each year. According to the report, the actual cost to collect and recycle the refuse is over $466,000 each year.
However, not taken into account is all the other waste that doesn’t make it to the landfill. These are items like old cars, tyres, fridges, freezers, electronic items like old TV sets, computers and plain household trash.
The questions are; what to do about our waste in the long term, how to properly manage its disposal and who should pay?
Well government has been working on the answers to these very questions and on Monday at the Office for the Minister for Infrastructure, Hon Teariki Heather, members of the Waste Financing Committee, NZ High Commissioner John Carter, Maureen Hilyard of NZ High Commission, John Wichman of Recycle Cook Islands and Tekau Herman of MOIP, presented the Committee’s 36 page report which was commissioned by government to look into possible options for the setting up of long term financing for solid waste management.
The report was written by Louisa Palmer of Waste Connections New Zealand. Also attached is a 6 page commentary by Vaughan Levitzke of Zero Waste, South Australia and a 43 page draft report by SPREP (National Solid Waste Management Strategy 2011-2015).
Summary of proposals;
1. That a Waste Management Trust Fund be set up to finance management of solid wastes.
2. Other possible means of financing could include:
a. An Environment Levy or Advance Disposal Fee-to shift the cost to the polluter
b. Waste Disposal fee-to encourage and reward waste reduction at the landfill
c. Tax Incentives and Disincentives-to aid the development of appropriate waste and recycling infrastructure
d. Container deposits-a form of product stewardship to encourage a waste managemtn ethos within the community
3. Set up a Waste Management Board to manage solid waste and develop an appropriate Product Stewardship model.
4. Develop a Legislative Framework to formalize the sustainable management of solid waste.
The report notes that government and some private sector initiatives are being considered or are underway in regard to dealing with waste. For example;
1. The renewable energy project may consider waste to energy as an option and seek to utilize mixed waste as feedstock.
2. The WATSAN project may consider blending green waste with bio-solids.
3. The Airport Authority incinerator burns up to 200kg of waste daily for the airlines.
4. Government agencies use the same incinerator to burn sanitary items and confidential documents. An upgrade is being considered as well as whether to use the facility to generate electricity.
5. The Titikaveka Growers Association have set up a compost centre to cut down the amount of green waste that would otherwise be burnt.
6. CITC is looking to secure infrastructure to better manage Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, it also provides a drop off centre for beverage containers and cardboard boxes.
7. Telecom has collection points for obsolete cell phones.
8. Glass bottles are being crushed for use in making concrete blocks
9. Old cars are being collected.
The report consolidates all 14 key recommendations under the four tasks set and proposes that these be presented to Cabinet for further consideration.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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